The death of V2 Records would be an interesting cautionary tale if it wasn’t so depressing.
The problem from the beginning was that Sheridan Square forced V2 to absorb Artemis, which it had already purchased, saddling a new would-be indie with somebody else’s—is baggage unkind?—all right, choices.
In this case, the unchosen choice seems to have come in the form of the tragically innocent Sugar Cult. But as everybody needs to learn the hard way these days, loyalty and longevity can no longer be taken for granted.
The real tragedy will be if the failure of V2 is somehow blamed on Andy Gershon’s visionary approach to our failing business. It was Gershon’s artist-friendly attitude and impeccable taste that brought the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Greenhornes, Ray Davies and the Mooney Suzuki to V2, and his hands-on approach that helped sell the “I Am Sam” soundtrack.
For the most part, the artists will be fine. Jack White and his friends will have no problems, and the Mooney Suzuki’s imminent new album will find a home.
It’s the Josh Ritters we worry about—those uncategorizable artists who have nothing going for them but talent. Let’s hope Ritter finds a family as hardworking and caring as the V2 team.
The lesson learned seems to be that an indie’s chances for survival are enhanced by three things: a patient parent company (deep pockets somewhere); a catalog to live off of while new acts develop; or starting out clean and small, free of mainstream expectations (and someone else’s artists) and staying fast and flexible in this speed-of-light changing world. See you on the radio.
COOLEST GARAGE SONGS
1. “Teenage Head,” the Morlocks
2. “Sayonara Blues,” the Woggles
3. “Within You Without You,” the Beatles
4. “Ain’t No King of Rock and Roll,” the Nomads
5. “Long Live the Weekend,” the Living End
6. “Wreck This Heart,” Bob Seger
7. “POD,” Tenacious D
8. “Favorite Son,” Green Day
9. “So Romantic,” the Charms
10. “Dance Like a Monkey,” New York Dolls
COOLEST GARAGE ALBUMS
1. “Broken Boy Soldiers,” the Raconteurs
2. “Last Man Standing,” Jerry Lee Lewis
3. “Shine On,” Jet
4. “CBGB Forever,” various artists
5. “State of Emergency,” the Living End
6. “Sinner,” Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
7. “Rockford,” Cheap Trick
8. “One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This,” New York Dolls
9. “Riot City Blues,” Primal Scream
10. “Astoria,” the Shys